Jump to content


How to value a Baron bookSigned by Royal Ballet dancers


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 Ostrich

Ostrich

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 340 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 12:10 AM

I recently picked up a first edition copy of Baron's Ballet Finale at a charity store and discovered that it has something like 40 signatures of Royal Ballet dancers from 1958(which is also when the book was published) in it! Signatures include those of Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan, Michael Somes, Desmond Doyle, John Gilpin, Belinda Wright, Alexander Grant, Antoinette Sibley, Ronald Hynd, Doreen Wells, Georgina Parkinson, Anette Page, Maryon Lane, Brian Shaw, and others.
I am not going to sell it, but I am interested in its possible value - I have established on abebooks.com that the book itself ranges in price from about $10.00 to $75. Anyone have an idea how the signatures might affect the price?

#2 Simon G

Simon G

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 564 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 02:01 AM

I recently picked up a first edition copy of Baron's Ballet Finale at a charity store and discovered that it has something like 40 signatures of Royal Ballet dancers from 1958(which is also when the book was published) in it! Signatures include those of Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan, Michael Somes, Desmond Doyle, John Gilpin, Belinda Wright, Alexander Grant, Antoinette Sibley, Ronald Hynd, Doreen Wells, Georgina Parkinson, Anette Page, Maryon Lane, Brian Shaw, and others.
I am not going to sell it, but I am interested in its possible value - I have established on abebooks.com that the book itself ranges in price from about $10.00 to $75. Anyone have an idea how the signatures might affect the price?



Ostrich,

I did a quick search around and sadly the only autograph that carries any real weight or significance outside of balletomanes is unsurprisingly Fonteyn's, a Fonteyn autograph on a good photo seems to fetch in the region of 150-250.

An auction house is selling her autograph on one of her handkerchiefs for 799, but that figure is so high due to the unnusual nature of the autograph.

Also the value of the book of course depends on how good a quality the book is actually in, in terms of the book's value and whether it has its original jacket etc

#3 PeggyR

PeggyR

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 612 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 06:04 AM

If it's any help, recently I purchased a 1949 Sadler's Wells Ballet program with Fonteyn's signature among a number of others (many unreadable). I paid about $35 for it, which I thought was low, but then I suspect Fonteyn is less well known in the US.

#4 Jane Simpson

Jane Simpson

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 926 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 06:36 AM

Fonteyn was very kind and signed an awful lot of photographs - you can pick them up on e-Bay very often. The Baron books also appear on e-Bay for not much more than they cost when new, 50 years ago! (And checking e-bay just now brought up some really intersting things - one book included Pearl Argyle's signature, which I don't remember seeing often (or at all) and there's also a signed letter from Fonteyn to designer Leslie Hurry.)

#5 rg

rg

    Emeralds Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,400 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 06:47 AM

re: Argyle, i'm about to post a photo on the history/music thread to see if any can confirm the identification of a photo said to show P.A.

#6 richard53dog

richard53dog

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,401 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 07:19 AM

Fonteyn was very kind and signed an awful lot of photographs - you can pick them up on e-Bay very often. The Baron books also appear on e-Bay for not much more than they cost when new, 50 years ago! (And checking e-bay just now brought up some really intersting things - one book included Pearl Argyle's signature, which I don't remember seeing often (or at all) and there's also a signed letter from Fonteyn to designer Leslie Hurry.)


Fonteyn was very generous about autographs. I was an obnoxious autograph hound when I was in my teens and collected autographs of as many performers as I could.

For the fans at the Lincoln Center stage door, Fonteyn would sit in her car and sign everything that was requested. Well, maybe not quite everything. I remember some photos from a ballet she appeared in ,Poeme de L'Extase, were a bit unflattering. She wouldn't sign a photo taken during a performance of that piece and said it was a bad photo and I should get my money back from the photographer. (In those days photographers like Luis Perez would sell copies of the photos they took directly to collectors at about a buck a pop)

And at that point Fonteyn signed always as Margot Fonteyn Arias

#7 Ostrich

Ostrich

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 340 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 10:20 AM

Yes, she signs herself like that in my book too. The book is in very good condition, with a good dustjacket, the only problem is that someone (who probably treasured the book a lot) covered it in plastic and has left yellowing sticky tape marks on the inside.

Most of the autographs in the book are preceded by a little message, all addressed to 'Sonny'. Does anyone know who that could be? They thank him for a 'great stay'. I assume this was a stay in South Africa, since that is where the book turned up and it is also autographed by Peter Cazalet, South African set designer. I don't think he was ever part of the Royal Ballet.

#8 Simon G

Simon G

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 564 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 10:33 AM

Ostrich,

Peter Cazalet worked with the RB set designer, Barry Kay, several times in the 50s and 60s, also he designed the staging of Ashton's Two Pigeons for CAPAB so there's a good direction to go in for research.

#9 Ostrich

Ostrich

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 340 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 11:49 AM

Ostrich,

Peter Cazalet worked with the RB set designer, Barry Kay, several times in the 50s and 60s, also he designed the staging of Ashton's Two Pigeons for CAPAB so there's a good direction to go in for research.

I Googled him but didn't come up with anything other than South African results - that is very, very interesting (I've seen his sets on stage for years - did they never write a bio of his career in the programmes or did I never read it?)

I deciphered the surname of the lucky original owner of the book - Cohen. The name is either Sonny or Jonny Cohen.

#10 Pamela Moberg

Pamela Moberg

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 566 posts

Posted 30 October 2009 - 04:40 PM

Interesting stuff about memorabilia. Yes, I do have an autographed photo of Margot Fonteyn - by Houston Rogers, costume of SB. Very beautiful, I have it framed on my wall. Think I will hang on to it. Also I have an autographed photo of Svetlana Beriosova which I will keep forever.

Also own the three books by Baron - Baron at the ballet - Baron Encore and Sadlers Wells Ballet. Interesting photo documents and will hang on to those as well, unless I get an offer that I cant refuse.

But, I do have a program from Festival Ballet, late fifties (do not have it handy right now) with autographs of entire company including guest artists Alexandra Danilova and Michael Maule. That is something one could sell. OK, to be quite honest, the Danilova one - fantastic legs and all - is removed and framed. Want to keep that one.

There is another take on this - I am no longer a youngster and I will not be able to take the stuff with me - children might think at one's demise "what kind of junk is this" and dispatch it to the nearest trash can. Therefore, by selling it one can make somebody else happy.
Sorry, didnt mean to sound morbid, but those are the facts of life :unsure:

#11 Nanarina

Nanarina

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 544 posts

Posted 31 October 2009 - 02:19 PM

:unsure: I can really relate to others feelings, regarding what will happen to our precious mementoes
after we are gone from this world,. I have two large cases of things, programmes, autographs tour
details, staff paperwork from when I worked with The Royal Ballet. One ofg my very prized items is a Souvenier programme from the IX Festival International De Baalbeck in the Lebanon Where the touring company performed a special production of Raymonda, which Rudilf Nureyev choreographed for us. It was the first time it had been danced in the west. The programme or booklet was sined by Ruddi and Margot for me, with a personal message thanking me for my help. (I looked after the costumes for their private appearanxces and compnay tours) It means a great deal to me, and I wonder what will happen to it when I have gone. My grand children are interested in Ballet now, but may not be in the future. Maybe I should leave the tings to say The Royal Ballet archive or a museum.

#12 Pamela Moberg

Pamela Moberg

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 566 posts

Posted 31 October 2009 - 05:35 PM

Yes, Nanarina, that is a good idea in my opinion. Donating to a museum or some research place if the object is of some importance. I myself donated an object to the Dance Museum in Stockholm, it was an ethnic object. Also, upon the death of my mother I donated some stuff to the Maritime Museum - my father was a sea captain.

Having worked in a museum myself (British Museum Nat. Hist, no less) I also know that museums have too many objects to display, so dont hope to visit the museum in question to find your stuff prominently displayed! :D But sometimes they put on special exhibitions and dig into their stores to find suitable objects. Well, anything is better than land fill, there is too much of that already - I am an absolute devil at sorting rubbish! :lol:

#13 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 31 October 2009 - 07:23 PM

Anyone have an idea how the signatures might affect the price?

I couldn't begin to guess, but you should probably get a professional appraisal from an autographs dealer.

#14 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 01 November 2009 - 09:44 AM

Bookman's Price Index is a good reference found in many libraries, and gives prices for recent sales of many different kinds of books, with autograph copies usually leading the prices.

#15 Cantormum

Cantormum

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 15 March 2014 - 11:19 AM

I see that this thread is some years old, but I am a new member and this is my first post. I own copies of all the 3 Baron books, given to me as a child by my parents. I was looking for information on their value.  Anyhow in reading these I see a post about Sonny Cohen from South Africa. I am a South African from Cape Town and remember Sonny Cohen very well. He was known as the Silver Fox, as he head a full head of silver white hair. He was always at the Ballet, the Opera, the Symphony Concerts, the Theatre and often with most beautiful women on his arm. He was a true lover of the arts, and a total gentleman. Wonderful to see a post that has reminded me of Sonny.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):